What Happens When the Unexpected Happens?

As we prepare and plan for the future, we always remember to live for today.  We enjoy our time together and with our family as much as possible.  For us, it just so happens we enjoy camping, hunting and fishing.  We don’t mind being away from the amenities of city life.  Redfish likes to spend time with the birds and enjoys watching their antics.  We both enjoy the garden and picking fresh things to eat.  Yesterday we pulled fresh carrots and cut some nice broccoli.

But, for us the unexpected happened, which is why there has been a decreasing amount of activity on this site.  For many years Redfish has had unexplained health issues.  Most doctors told her it was depression or arthritis.  None took her seriously.  When she told them about this symptom or that, they either said it was imaginary or ignored it as something not worth note.  Then after some years, things would get better and she would be her old self again.  This cycle has gone on for about 35 years.

Last fall she entered another one of these cycles, which we both thought was another bout of depression.  That’s what we’ve been told so many times before, even though we didn’t believe it.  She got shingles, then cervical cancer, and skin cancer in a three month period of time.  None of these were fatal nor even cause for great alarm because they could be taken care of, removed, or would go away.  But they did get her to thinking about her mortality.

But, even when things were supposed to be getting better, they were not.  In fact, they were getting worse.  Swelling, fatigue from hell, and pain everywhere.  Asthma was flaring more than usual. Headaches a near constant companion.  Finally, eight doctors and 35 years later, someone knew what was wrong.  Lupus.  It was a devastating diagnosis.

How could that many doctors miss this for so long?  What now?  What are the damages of being untreated for 35 years?  What is the life expectancy after diagnosis?  All of these questions and more came bubbling up through the whole family.

Mostly, Redfish was relieved.  She cried tears of relief because she finally knows why she gets tired, sore and achy.  There are answers for the myriad of other symptoms that came and went over the years.  Finally someone took her serious and investigated her symptoms.  She no longer feels guilty for needing a nap or wanting to take pain meds for her headaches and joint pain.  She understands why sometimes she can’t remember what day it is for more than 30 minutes.

Now what?  We have to choose what to do next and re-evaluate our priorities.  She’s going to keep her garden and birds, for now.  We will still be prepared for any emergency that may arise, but we are also working on ways to reduce stress in her life to slow the progress of Lupus as much as possible.  This web site will have to take a back seat.   Posts will be less often, but they will be meaningful.  

 

Canning Ingredients or Meals?

Home canned  tomato puree.Many of us rely on our gardens and livestock, and home canning to fortify our food stores.  For some of us, our canned goods are not only for the future, but are using them now.

The question is which is a best use of resources:  Canning meals in jars or canning ingredients in jars.  Is it better to can a meatloaf than it is to can the ingredients separately?  When one chooses to can 75 quarts of tomatoes, its a simple process with relatively few steps.  There is less chance for error.

However, in the event of a life changing event, will you be able to access all the ingredients for your favorite dishes?  Spices  for recipes we love come from all over the world.  If a global event causes a breakdown in transportation, those recipes go out the window.

RedFish was asking me what I thought about this the other day as she was considering which recipes to use for this year’s tomato crops. I didn’t know what to say.

One way, canning the ingredients, is much less work now and the canned goods are available to use in any manner as circumstances allow.  Preparing meals from these goods will be a bit more time consuming since we will need to prepare the various recipes.  We will be limited to spices and seasonings are available.  When the stored exotic ones run out, we will use what ever we can grow, find or barter for.

Food will certainly be more bland and monotonous.  Continual bland foods can contribute to depression during a prolonged period of life challenges.  Without seasoning, everything will start to taste the same.  No one wants to eat the same thing every day, week after week.

The other way, canning products as meals, complete with seasoning, is more work now and less work later. It is more expensive and time consuming now.  It will be nice to be able to open and heat a canned meal that tastes as good as it did when it was first prepared.  If those spices are no longer available, it will also be a great bartering tool.  People will long for the flavors they were accustomed to enjoying without thought.

 

Preppers Knowledge Bank: Winter Blues, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or Sunlight Deprivation

Sunshine Fights DepressionAll humans, and most animals, need a certain amount of sunlight to survive.  If you are a prepper who plans to use a bunker or be a cave-dweller , it is important to take this into consideration.  Spending large amounts of time in dimly lit areas can bring about situations scary movies are made of.

The human body needs one hour of sunlight a day to survive.  That’s survive.  That doesn’t include a condition better than mere survival mode.  It has long been known Vitamin D prevents many diseases, but beyond that most people don’t know the “list”.  Indeed,the list is quite long.  It includes such things as improvements in asthma to bone health and can kill bad bacteria and improve heart health.

Whether you want to call it “seasonal affective disorder” or “winter blues” it can be depression brought on by lack of sunshine.  For some people, just being outside will quickly improve their mood.  The need to be outside is natural as evidenced by the number of outdoor fun activities people engage in daily.

But, what does being outside mean?  If I cover myself from head to toe with no part of my body exposed to the sun, I might as well stay indoors.  The same is true if I cover myself with harmful sunscreen products.  The benefit of the sun are blocked along with the negligible hazards.  Consider that 65,000 people world wide die of skin cancer.  Now consider that globally almost 1.24 million people die in traffic accidents.

No matter what, make certain every member of your family gets enough sunshine when the getting is good.  What if the sun isn’t available due to shortened days or being indoors most of (or all) of the time?  There are vitamin D supplements to prevent diseases by providing  vitamin D in the blood to allow the immune system to function.  Without Vitamin D your immune system can not function.

Installing full spectrum light bulbs are useful in replacing some of what you are missing and are certainly better than nothing.   Simply turn it on and enjoy a book, or better yet, this website.  Full spectrum lights are available at Lowe’s and Home Depot as well as other hardware and home improvement stores.  When preparing for a SHTF event, also consider adding a “sunrise” light to to wake up naturally.  It will improve and encourage a natural sleep pattern.  Combining the full spectrum light with the natural sunrise light, you’ll have your days and nights covered.

 

References:

Mayo Clinic

MindBodyGreen

U. S. News